Welcome to our comprehensive guide to the most popular destinations beyond Sydney. Whether you would like to make a day trip in the country, have a weekend away or visit another state or territory, we can help you find the right destination and the best way to get there. Many visitors do not realise that there are hundreds of interesting destinations in other parts of Australia that are easy to reach and relatively inexpensive to travel to from Sydney. For example, by planning wisely and travelling overnight, some destinations can end up costing nothing to visit because you pay for your travel with the money you saved on that night's accommodation.
If you are an overseas visitor, there are a number of rail passes available that allow you to travel across Australia by train at low cost. Most passes give you unlimited travel on certain railway networks over a set period of time for a set price, thus, the more you use it, the cheaper each journey becomes. All quoted prices and pass durations were current at the time of publication but may be varied without note by the operator of each service. Please contact each operator direct for current information, prices and conditions of travel. Note: Australian permanent residents are NOT eligible to use the Queensland passes.
Outback New South Wales is a land of rugged natural beauty with iconic red earth, enormous, wide-open spaces under bright blue skies and ancient and spectacular landforms. Visitors are invariably awestruck by the profound impact of space, the myriad of stars in the night sky and the ever-present wildlife. Once the backbone and focal point of Australia's mining industry, Broken Hill today draws film makers, artists and visitors alike to experience the vibrant yet subtle colours and magical light of the outback.
Billed as one of the seven wonders of New South Wales, Monaro High Country and The Snowy Mountains stretches the length of the South Coast region, its main feature being the Snowy Mountains. Winter is renowned for its picturesque snow fields, Spring is a multitude of rural shows and festivals, a time the mountains are painted with wildflowers and blossoms. Summer provides for relaxing fishing and bush walking activities with Autumn portraying the region's brilliant seasonal golden colours.
The North Coast of NSW has a seemingly endless ribbon of beaches - some busy with holidaymakers, other totally deserted - offering surfing, whale-watching, frolicking dolphins and flocks of seabirds. In between the beaches are lakes and ocean lagoons that are ideal for fishing and boating. Up in the Great Dividing Range behind the coastal plains, there are many National Parks, where walking tracks lead through rainforests to mountain-top lookouts, and waterfalls fed by crystal clear streams.
Hemmed in by majestic mountains forged from ancient volcanoes on one side, and the Pacific Ocean on the other, the long but relatively narrow coastal strip between the port city of Newcastle north of Sydney and the Gold Coast in South East Queensland has rightly been called the Holiday Coast. For those who want to laze around and unwind on a ribbon of beach under the summer sun, the Mid North Coast is the perfect destination. The further north one travels, the more tropical everthing becomes.
Set against a backdrop of craggy mountains, gentle hills, lakes and forests, the coastline to the south of Sydney is varied, with ribbons of white sandy beaches punctuated by rocky head lands, bays and inlets. Quaint fishing villages, urban residential areas and holiday resorts, many of which triple their population during school holidays and the peak summer months, provide a range of accommodation options. Fishing, boating, swimming and bushwalking are the main leisure activities on the south coast.
The Central West is an area which gradually changes from rolling agricultural land into the harsh, roughness of the arid western region of New South Wales. It is home to the earliest inland towns of mainland Australia, with many significant historic places relating to the gold rush days to be found here. The eastern section not only showcases Australia's pioneering past, but also the food, wine and hospitality for which the region has earned it enviable reputation for quality and abundance.
For travellers to and from Queensland, the New England region is an inland alternative to the coast road, however it is much more than just a place to travel through on the way from Point A to point B. New England is known as the Big Sky Country. Not only for its clear night skies but for the panoramic vistas of the countryside. Some of Australia's most beautiful National Parks are in New England region, offering world renowned trout fishing, cross country hiking, camping, kayaking and bushwalking.
The Riverina agricultural region, in south-western New South Wales, is bordered on the south by the state of Victoria and on the east by the Great Dividing Range. Its ample supply of water for irrigation is taken from the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers. Consequently it is one of the most productive and agriculturally diverse areas of Australia. In the Riverina, the local industry is geared towards growing fruit. You are never far from a winery and the food served here is equal in excellence.
The Australian Capital Territory is the site of Canberra, Australia's capital city. As well as the seat of Government for the Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra has been developed as a celebration of and salute to Australia's culture, its unique natural features and its notable sons and daughters.
Sydney to Canberra by Road: 287 km (3 hrs) - Hume and Federal Highways.
Though Australia is a big country and it takes time to travel from one destination to another, with a little careful planning and some local knowledge, it is easy to fit other worthwhile destinations into your itinerary with little or no extra demands on your budget or time. We have suggestions on minimising travel time, ways to travel that will end up costing you nothing or very little, how to keep your days free for sightseeing and visit more places by utilising night travel, and reveal the journeys that are as rewarding and enjoyable as the destinations they take you to.
The capital city of the State of Victoria, Melbourne a cosmopolitan city with a reputation for being a major ethnic melting pot. As a result, the city is known for its restaurants which serve a multitplicity of cuisines, and for being at the forefront in fashion, style and the arts. Victoria has a wide diversity of landscapes which cover the whole gamut of the Australian experience - semi arid desert areas, rugged coastal cliffs, alpine ski resorts, historic goldmining towns and ancient river gum forests.
South Australia is the fifth largest state in Australia with a population of 1.4 million. It is home to long summers, stunning beaches and award-winning wine, events and festivals. South Australia has the easiest access to the Australian outback of any state. Its capital, Adelaide, is a place of natural beauty and simple elegance and is the gateway to the Flinders Ranges, Kangaroo Island, the vineyards of the Barossa Valley, and the scenic coasts of the Fleurieu, Yorke and Eyre peninsulas.
On a map, Tasmania has the appearance of a jewel hanging around the neck of mainland Australia - an appropriate image for what is Australia's most unique state, a jewel waiting to be discovered and appreciated. Australia's island state, Tasmania sits just 240 kilometres south-east of mainland Australia. More than 40 per cent of the island is protected as national parks and reserves, which are home to some of the world's rarest animals. The capital, Hobart, is Australia's second oldest city.
Largely tropical, the Northern Territory covers about one sixth of the Australian continent with an area equal to the combined areas of France, Spain and Italy. It is an area of great diversity, from lush tropical rainforest in the north to the ancient semi-arid plains and deserts of the Red Centre. Darwin, Australia's only tropical capital city, has a wealth of attractions for visitors who warm to its laid back lifestyle.
Known as Australia's Sunshine State, Queensland offers a great diversity of holiday and touring opportunities, with the Great Barrier Reef, tropical islands, tropical rainforest and wilderness, open sandy beaches, and the vast outback, as well as the sophisticated attractions of Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast. Brisbane has a feel all of its own - the weather, the architecture, the love of recreational activities by the locals who enjoy a laid back, relaxed, semi-tropical lifestyle.
Western Australia is the largest state, covering the western most third of the mainland. A range of experiences, from wilderness adventures in the arid outback or diving on coral reefs, to fine dining and wine tasting, attract a wide variety of visitors. Perth, its capital city, is known for its wonderful white, sandy and uncrowded beaches, a sunny climate and its friendly, hospitable atmosphere.